Tuesday November 2 2010
Benitez stands up for Maicon

Rafa Benitez admits Inter have “a few problems to resolve. Spurs were simply stronger and faster,” but he stood up for Douglas Maicon.

The Nerazzurri were beaten 3-1 at White Hart Lane and once again Gareth Bale ran riot against Maicon.

“Spurs were simply physically stronger and faster. This made the difference every time we lost the ball on their rapid counter-attacks,” the Coach told Sky Italia television.

“We should've dealt with Bale better in the one-on-one situations and coverage, but we didn't do that tonight and it decided the defeat. You could really feel the atmosphere and the great focus Tottenham had in facing the champions of Europe.

“It's true that Bale had a lot of space tonight and we couldn't stop him, but people are too critical of Maicon. He had problems when defending tonight, but in attack he's always great.”

Inter went into this game without Julio Cesar, Thiago Motta, Dejan Stankovic and Esteban Cambiasso. Sulley Ali Muntari limped off with a calf injury, so teenager Obiora Nwankwo had to be introduced.

“We knew his calf was troubling him, but Muntari wanted to be there and we didn't have many alternatives,” confessed Benitez.

“Like Coutinho, Nwankwo did well. It's not easy to settle in to the squad and we will have to work very hard with them.

“Our midfield is without Cambiasso, Motta and Stankovic, who are three players who bring quality. We have a few problems to resolve.

“What will I say to the lads? There isn't much to say. They know they did not play well and we will now work to prepare for the next match.”

Tottenham have now caught Inter on top of Group A with seven points, though Spurs are ahead thanks to their superior head-to-head record.

“Now the Champions League is entirely down to us. If we win our next game, then we will go through to the knockout phase. If we don't, then we'll see.”